PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — All of Oregon’s State Parks will be closed to the public, starting Monday, March 23, at the direction of Governor Kate Brown, according to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
The parks will close to the public at the end of the day on Monday. Campers must leave no later than 1 p.m. and day-use areas will be closed at 5 p.m.
The Parks Department had previously slated campground closures for April 3, but after new guidance from the governor “and clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks,” officials determined the closure was more immediately needed.
“We would have preferred an orderly shutdown of the system and to remain open for daytime visits, but our concern for the effects on rural health care systems requires us to move up and expand our plans,” says Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “We know this will cause a disruption, since we’re suspending service to everyone, even people who live near a park. Reducing contact between people is more important than recreation at the moment.”
Refunds are available to campers for the canceled bookings.
Oregon’s beaches have not yet been closed to the public, but the state’s Park and Recreation Department could close them in the future if social distancing practices are not followed.
In addition to the state parks closure, the Oregon Department of Transportation will be closing the parking lot for Multnomah Falls along Interstate-84 Monday morning. The US Forest Service is closing access to the falls after crowds continued to gather and walk along tight trails, despite warnings to social distance. The Historic Columbia River Highway will remain open, but drivers should expect delays.
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